It’s always nice to hear from Autocar readers; to hear about their cars, their buying and selling experiences, and just what they think is going on in our little bubble. Ben isn’t a dealer, but he got a bit bored at home during lockdown so “swapped out the family fleet”.
Let’s get your full attention with a McLaren. “I bought a 540C from a main dealer just after we left the first lockdown, because dealers were desperate to sell,” says Ben. “It seems a lot of people were keen to buy, too, with a changed mindset about enjoying life in the moment. I sold it to a trader five months and 4000 miles later for more than I paid.”
Ben is indeed correct: there is the odd Mac on sale. I spotted one in a suburb of London where a private-hire Toyota Prius, not a 540C, is the usual ride. Anyway, a five-owner privately offered 2016 example with a sub-20,000-mile reading, it was up for £73,000. I didn’t much fancy it, given that it was squeezed onto the concreted frontage of a terraced house. And especially not when I can go to a dealer down the road and get a 2016 car with a full history and 23,000 miles for £79,995.
According to Ben, “decent Ford Mustang V8 GTs seem to have settled at a minimum of £26,000-£27,000 and are a lot of car for the money”. He goes on: “I just bought a Competition Orange Mustang with 4500 miles and five Ford stamps in the book, in mint condition, for £27,000. I was hankering after an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, but the same price buys one 20 years older, with higher parts and running costs plus 20,000 miles.”
Absolutely: I made the point recently that a Vantage or DB9 is surely going to cause you a lot more financial grief than a fairly straight-forward Ford. I found a very clean one-owner 2016 Mustang V8 with just under 15,000 miles for £26,950.
Ben also reckons that the R231-generation Mercedes-Benz SL is in reasonable supply. He says: “There are some bargains about, especially 350s. I paid £24,000 privately for a one-owner, mint-condition, 65-plate 400 AMG with a full service history and 23,000 miles. It feels real value for money currently. I’m told it has simpler suspension and is the first without roof-leak issues… We’ll see.”
Just in case you wondered whether Ben also dabbles in tiddlers, he says: “Decent Volkswagen Ups seem to have bottomed out at £4000. The Up is great little car to drive, but for a similar price the current Citroën C1, Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo triplets will be two or three years newer and lower mileage. They drive equally well and are dependable.”
Tales from Ruppert's garage